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Odessa Barb

By | Last Updated: 3rd August 2020

Odessa barb, a small-sized ornamental fish, has its roots in Central Myanmar. It gets its name since it first made its appearance among pet enthusiasts in Ukraine’s Odesa. A part of its scientific name, “padamya,” means ruby in Burmese, given due to its coloration. Their gentle demeanor and attractive appearance make them a sought-after choice in the aquarium trade.

Odessa Barb

Quick Information

Scientific NamePethia padamya
Other NamesRuby barb
OriginCentral Myanmar
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (by the IUCN)  
Behavioral CharacteristicsPeaceful, and active, but may display aggression towards other species of their kind
School Size4 – 5
Physical TraitsOval-shaped body, compressed laterally; large scales; and incomplete lateral lines
ColorsMale: Beige or light brown body with red stripes running from top to bottom; red irises, thin black streak through the center of its eyes; yellowish-green pelvic, anal, and dorsal fins with black spots
Female: Light beige body; silvery sheen on their scales; light, yellowish-green fins with faint black spots only on the dorsal fins
Size (How big do they get)Small; 1.8 inches (4.6 cm)
Lifespan3 – 5 years
Sexual DimorphismPresent: Males are brighter than females, with the color patterns mentioned above
Probable Diseases Ich, dropsy
Approximate Price (How much is it for)$ 10 – 15
Odessa Barb Size
Odessa Barb Fish

Tank Setup & Care Sheet Details

Care LevelBeginners
Tank Size30 gallons (113.5 liters)

Water Parameters

pH Level6.0 – 7.0
Temperature75.2° to 78.8°F (24 to 26°C)
Hardness4 – 10 dGH
Aquarium  Water FlowFast

Tank Ambience

Substrate TypeDark substrates, and plants to help them attain a brighter coloration 
Tank MatesCompatible with: Neon tetra, ember tetra, and other tetra species, ram cichlid, mollies, goldfish, corydoras catfish species, tiger barb

Incompatible with: Slow swimming species like pufferfish and those with long fins like the angelfish and gouramis as they tend to nip fins; with other male Odessa barbs due to same-sex aggression; invertebrates like shrimps
Suitable Position in the TankBottom


DietDried, frozen, and live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and flakes and pellets
Frequency 2-3 times a day
Odessa Barb Male
Female Odessa Barb

Important Things to Know For Fish Keepers

  • Try keeping them in groups of at least five (as mentioned above), as a lonely Odessa barb would have a shy demeanor spending most of its time hiding between the substrates. They could also get stressed due to living alone that can affect their immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses.
  • If you find their bright red body (mostly of males) turning pale, the reason could be stress, primarily due to sudden alteration in their environment.  Lack of proper diet is also another cause.
  • Odessa barbs often end up chasing one another to find their space out or just in pursuit of play. Hence it is recommended to keep them in a big tank to provide ample space for swimming and moving about.


Q. What is the difference between the odessa barb and ticto barb?

In the aquarium trade, the Odessa and ticto barb are often confused with one another, though they have easily identifiable visible differences. While the Odessa barb, particularly males, have a reddish-orange coloration, the ticto barb has a silvery-golden body with two black spots.

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